Fact check: Protest in Netherlands in response to gas extractions, not COVID-19 regulations

·2 min read

The claim: Video shows a Netherlands protest against COVID-19 laws

A video has spread online along with the false claim that it shows a demonstration in the Netherlands against COVID-19 regulations.

The video appeared on Facebook and Twitter.

"Tens of thousands of free people protested against the new police state in Netherlands," read a Jan. 16 tweet that featured an image showing protesters in the streets.

It gathered more than 8,000 interactions within three days.

But an online flyer for the demonstration, a live-stream video and social media posts indicate the protest was not about COVID-19 laws but was instead in response to gas extractions planned in the province of Groningen in the Netherlands. The Dutch government expects to increase gas production from the Groningen gas field, which has caused safety concerns about earthquakes.

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USA TODAY reached out to the user who shared the claim for comment.

Protest in response to gas extractions

On Jan. 11, Groninger Bodem Beweging, or Groninger Soil Movement, announced a demonstration would take place on Saturday, Jan. 15.

Groninger Soil Movement is an association that advocates for people who have been impacted by the gas extraction in the Groningen gas field, according to the English translation of the page.

Under the slogan "Respect for Groningen," the announcement said the protest's purpose was to oppose the government's policy.

A local outlet published a YouTube video on Jan. 15, titled "Live broadcast: The torchlight procession in Groningen," according to Google Translate. The caption indicates it was a #Respectvoorgroningen demonstration.

A Jan. 15 tweet by user @Sikkom said residents gathered to stand against "the gas extraction misery," according to a Google translation implemented on Twitter.

On Jan. 16, Groninger Soil Movement shared a Facebook post that said more than 10,000 people came out for the demonstration.

Although there was a protest in Amsterdam against COVID-19 measures on Jan. 16, the nighttime footage shared on social media does not show that demonstration.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a video shows a Netherlands protest against COVID-19 laws. An online flyer for the demonstration, a live stream and social media posts indicate the protest was in response to gas extractions in the province of Groningen.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Protest Netherlands over gas extractions not COVID-19 laws